|"I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself" : Rita Mae Brown|
Thank you to Bridie, Christina and Claire for asking me to be part of the "Why I Write" Blog Hop. It has been a perfect opportunity to finally get some of the thoughts that have been rattling around in my head down on paper.
So, it turns out I've become very attached to my blog over the past few years. Whereas in the beginning I thought it would be easy to stop blogging when it no longer provided joy, over time it's grown to become such an important part of my life as well as being a very special record of memories for my family that I can't contemplate parting with it. It's a difficult thing to explain but there you go!
That said, lately there has been a little grey cloud hovering above this space and I have never questioned why I continue to write here as much as I have these past few months. Rather than mention it or take a break or do anything drastic like throw in the towel completely I've just pushed through hoping time would provide the clarity I have been looking for. Thankfully, it has. I've made a few mental shifts and some more tangible changes in how I spend my time in Blogland and I've returned to my blog with a renewed enthusiasm.
It seems I've allowed myself to be affected by what is happening "out there" in Blogland. I don't know why, when I'm constantly dishing out advice to the Kids to "run your own race and don't worry about what anyone else is doing" but I can't deny I've been affected.
The thing is, Blogland has changed so much since I started almost 3 years ago. Lately I've felt bombarded by messages on how to blog, how to create content, how to monetise, why monetise, how to be better, how to be bigger, how to comment, how to increase traffic (yuck!) and basically how to do and be anything and everything except what I actually want my blog to be. In a nutshell, it has felt strange to be part of an industry that is changing so much and not wanting to be part of those changes. There is safety in numbers and I've felt the weight of not following the crowd. Likewise, I've felt the loss of so many fabulous blogs that have either shut up shop or scaled back to near nothing. Many of us feel the same and thank you to those who have been on the receiving end of my e-mails and conversations around this topic.
There is increasing chatter "out there" too about blog etiquette (or lack thereof), of websites critiquing Blogs, of judgement towards bloggers who include Children on their blogs, of cliques and strategic alliances forming, of trolls lurking on social media. It's all affected my enjoyment of blogging. Yet, when I open up my laptop all I see here is the kindest of people popping in with the very best of intentions and this is something I don't take for granted one bit. I've never had a single negative comment here and I'm proud to be part of the little online community that we have built together over the years. How silly to be blinded by all the negative "out there" when the reality is that everything is AOK in here.
I'm mindful of online privacy issues yet I'm not a total narcissist to think my blog is so important that masses of people are flocking here to read my words and look at my photos. This is a very small blog in the grand scheme of things and for the time being I am comfortable with the intentions of my blog as well as with the way I share my words and photographs. I'm going to continue blogging although I shall henceforth be putting on some blinkers to what is happening "out there" and sail through Blogland, happy to be a boat with a red sail rather than one of the white ones so to speak.
So, this is all a very long introduction to answering the following simple questions:.
What Am I Working On?
Nothing. I have so little spare time available that I simply write whatever I can in the couple of hours that I allocate to blogging each week. If anything, I should probably be working on an "About Me" page.
How Does My Writing Differ From Others In My Genre?
I don't know if or how it differs. My blog is essentially a personal blog and I actually don't think I fit into any specific niche or genre and I'm OK with that now. I've never intended my blog to be a useful resource for anyone about anything. It's just my life - family things, things I do, places I go, things I'm making, random thoughts and stories. Thank you to Claire for this Post which made me realise that it's OK to not have a niche or teach people anything. The fact that anyone outside my extended family finds anything I write remotely interesting is very humbling. I write in a way that is probably described as conversational, as if we were sitting around the table having a cup of tea together in the sense that I get equal enjoyment from visiting you in your spaces.
Why Do I Write What I Do?
I write because I love it. It's a hobby and more importantly a little space just for me. I write what I do to record memories for myself and my family. My Husband is the biggest fan of my blog and the biggest compliment for me is when he or friends and other members of our extended family mention how much they enjoy my Posts and seeing what we have been up to as a family. I love documenting life and it is something I have done since I could first hold a pencil. My relatives have always lived overseas or elsewhere in the country and I have been writing letters to them since I was about 4 years old. As a child I had pen pals from Europe and South America and I loved getting an insight into how people from all around the world lived. This fascination with people and how they live is something that prompted my desire to be an exchange student to Germany and then Canada a few years later. During those years my favourite thing to do was take photographs and write letters back home documenting my travels and experiences. This blog is simply an extension of what I've been enjoying all my life. The ability to connect with like-minded souls from anywhere in the world through blogging is one of the best bits of blogging.
How Does My Writing Process Work?
I usually have a Post "written" in my head and then it's just a matter of typing it up. My most productive places for forming sentences are in the shower or when I'm going for a walk. I don't set out to interrupt my showers or walks with thoughts about a blog post but I guess because those are the only times I am on my own without children it's a natural place for my mind to wander to. I don't schedule Posts or have a single Post sitting in "Draft" form. I just sit at my desk and write something and then hit publish. This means that when I look back on old Posts I am often very confronted by what I've written and generally cringe my way through the Post wanting to re-write the entire thing. I now never read back over old Posts! Having Posts in "Draft" would also cause stress in the same way Pinning ideas on Pinterest or a having a Queue of projects on Ravelry would in that I know I don't have the time to do anything other than what I can do right now!
EDIT: I'm passing the baton over to the lovely Katie from Life With The Crew who writes about her life in Pennsylvania with her sweet little girl and menagerie of animals.